How Not to Mark and Label your Dangerous Goods Package

For those of us who are the geeks and nerds of the dangerous goods world, we know and understand what is required to ship dangerous goods quite well, if not remarkably well. And for those folks who don’t deal with dangerous goods, it’s a whole new concept. When people call us to ask about shipping dangerous goods, I always ask if they are trained in the mode of transport that they are trying to ship the dangerous goods in. If the answer is yes then it’s just a quick review for them (provided they are a current ICC customer). If they say no then it’s a grade 5 level explanation given as to what is needed to get the shipment prepared and shipped out properly (our repackaging services). 

Last month a customer called to get help on sending a dangerous goods shipment by air from one part of Canada to another. He was the freight forwarder. The product belonged to his client. He said his client has been trying to get it out by air but it got rejected by the air carrier. The air carrier referred him to us. I said no problem, we can help. He forwarded me the rejected checklist and yes there were a few issues (packaging, marks/labels, errors on the declaration) so clearly, our services were needed. 

He said he will bring the box to us on behalf of his client. And he did.


I have seen quite a few rejected dangerous goods shipments in my lifetime of doing this “very exciting work” but I have never seen a package with placards on it for air transport. Incorrect labels, missing labels, wrong orientation, washed-out labels, etc; seen it all but seeing the primary and subsidiary hazard labels as placards was a first for me. Just so we are clear, generally labels go on a small means containment (less than 450L capacity) and placards go on large means of containment (greater than 450L capacity). 

To be honest, I had a good laugh. Sometimes it’s just so bad that you just have to laugh about it. It was evident that the individual who originally prepared this shipment did not know anything about shipping dangerous goods. By ground or air for that matter. If you notice they also wrote “UN” inside the class 4.3 placard to comply with the UN# marking on the outside. Clearly, this felt like a “google” type of preparation. Go on google, find out some stuff and try to copy it. 

Well in the end it just so happened that it couldn’t go after all due to other issues. Had we done the repackaging the boxes would have been prepared correctly for air transport. I did mention to our client to let his client know ICC provides training and supplies so that they are properly trained to ship dangerous goods. He said he will definitely pass the information along as even he knew his client needed the help. 

If you don’t want your dangerous goods shipments to be rejected, we can help. We have online and virtual-live classes in the air (and other) regulations. If you ship dangerous goods infrequently then contact us for our repackaging services

We have all the products, services and training you need to ensure your staff is properly trained and informed.

Repacking Services





Racheal Mani

Racheal Mani

Racheal Mani, based out in our Delta, B.C. office, has over 12 years of experience working under different auspices of federal, provincial, and municipal regulatory framework. She specializes in TDG Clear Language, IATA, IMDG, and WHMIS 2015 training. Racheal’s extensive knowledge in the dangerous goods industry is driven from her hands-on experience from packaging of dangerous goods for all modes of transport and her consistent liaison with ICC clients to ensure dangerous goods consignments meet the applicable regulatory requirements prior to transport.